Author Archives: Mark R. Kelly

Emergence, Complexity, and the Potential for Human Understanding

Here are a couple scientific topics that I don’t pretend to understand, at least not in any depth. What I find fascinating is how, while the big-scale scientific conclusions have been fairly stable for several decades (as noted two weeks … Continue reading

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Change Control

How even modest measures to ameliorate problems in NYC face resistance; How religious certitudes from Alito and others will not end well. Still under the weather, but let’s try a couple items from today’s NYT, about perhaps the broadest issue … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Evolution, Morality, Social Progress | Comments Off on Change Control

I’ve Caught a Cold; How Much of Science Fiction is Obsolete?

I’ve caught colds my entire life; two or three a year. I sneeze, cough, and it usually starts with a sore throat. (Whereas I very rarely have gotten flues, with a temperature and symptoms that go on for a week.) … Continue reading

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Narrative Drives, Reality, and Nothingburgers

More conservative reactions to Hunter Biden’s conviction, and how they are examples of humanity’s drive to fit any new evidence into pre-existing narrative; Heather Cox Richardson on how reality defies Trump’s narrative; How the extreme conservative worldview includes stoning gays … Continue reading

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Politics as Fantasy, as Competing Stories

Three topics for today. The Hunter Biden verdict this morning, and how conservatives explain it to fit their conspiracy theories; Religious dimwittery about installing the Ten Commandments into schools; and Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito’s presumptuous allegiance to Christian godliness … Continue reading

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Second Return from Austin

More executor fun over the past few days. I and my partner and his son and son’s wife spent a long hot weekend in Austin going through Larry’s house, meeting an estate seller and a realtor and a neighbor, and … Continue reading

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Steven Pinker: THE BLANK SLATE, post 2

(Advisory: I’m traveling to Austin TX tomorrow through Sunday, and so will not be posting here until next Monday, likely.) A key point about this book is that Pinker shows how the facts (the science) of human nature undermine both … Continue reading

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Steven Pinker: THE BLANK SLATE, post 1

Subtitled: “The Modern Denial of Human Nature” (Viking, Oct. 2002, 509pp, including 75pp appendix, notes, references, and index) This is an enormous, thorough book on a topic already covered to some extent by several of the other major books I’ve … Continue reading

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Incoherence, Lies, Getting Even, and an Apology

Back to items about conservative politics from the last few days. Trump’s incoherent press conference speech, following his New York City conviction; His lie about never saying “Lock her up” and Fox News’ casuistic excuse; The priority of Republicans to … Continue reading

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Visiting the Profound

Brian Greene on understanding reality as a collection of nested stories; Recalling analogous thoughts by Sean Carroll and others; Big Think’s Ethan Siegel on the success of modern fundamental science. Perhaps today we can step back from the paranoid, delusional … Continue reading

Posted in Book Notes, Cosmology, Narrative, Physics, Science | Comments Off on Visiting the Profound